by Jon Sumanik-Leary, Wind Empowerment Coordinator
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Wind Empowerment treasurer, Aran Eales in Glasgow and working alongside the rest of the Energy for Development Group at Strathclyde University, as both organisations are currently collaborating on the Market Assessment for Locally Manufactured PV-wind Hybrid Systems in Malawi. The Energy for Development Group has been working on renewable energy in Malawi for many years and has establioshed strong partnerships with both the Scottish Government and a wide variety of Malawian energy access stakeholders, including Community Energy Malawi. For the ongoing market assessment, Wind Empowerment brought in specific skills relating to small wind power, market assessment, datalogging, energy systems modelling and datalogging.
Towards the end of my week in Glasgow, I presented Wind Empowerment to an audience of undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and lecturers, with the aim of catalysing further collaboration between Strathclyde University and Wind Empowerment. Strathclyde is home to the UK’s Wind Energy Doctoral Training Centre, Students for Malawi and the Energy for Development group hosts a series of Vertically Integrated Projects, designed to apply engineering students’ technical knowledge to solving development challenges. The aim of this presentation was to link this wealth of expertise and keen problem solvers with the problems faced by Wind Empowerment member organisations in the field in order to come up with viable solutions.
The talk was well received and built upon the momentum established by Aran over the past few years. The session closed with an open question: “is there interest in establishing a Wind Empowerment research group here at Strathclyde University and if so, how could it be done?” The response was positive and various members of the group have already begin to meet up after the event. In fact, they are meeting tonight to hear from Ed Hart about lighting protection for small wind turbines. Long may this continue!